Joaquin El Chapo Guzman’s capture and extradition changed Mexico’s drug trafficking dynamics, with rival cartels taking advantage of the situation by challenging his organization, the Sinaloa Cartel, on numerous fronts. His capture was believed to have been part of Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto’s strategy to dismantle cartels by going after cartel heads, sometimes with the help of American authorities.
Just last year, however, a relatively new cartel as compared to El Chapo Guzman’s, called the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, challenged the Mexican authorities’ attempts to capture its leader, Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, also known as El Mecho. The organization, which presently rival’s El Chapo’s in assets, shot down a helicopter and set fire to cars and buses in response to a Mexican military offensive in Jalisco state in 2015. The following is an excerpt from the San Diego Tribune outlining the incident.
CAE "EL CONTA", OPERADOR DEL CJNG EN VERACRUZ-. Boca del Rio, Veracruz- En un operativo donde no se efectuó un sólo disparo, agentes del Gabinete Nacional de Seguridad lograron la detención de Juan Manuel Veloz Ortiz, "El Conta", presunto operador de una célula del Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) , con presencia en Boca del Río, Veracruz. El Conta es señalado como probable coordinador del secuestro del director de Seguridad Ciudadana del ayuntamiento de Boca del Río, Veracruz, ocurrido el 5 de abril de 2017. Juan Manuel está identificado como el presunto operador de una red conformada por elementos de las policías municipales y de un grupo de informantes integrado por taxistas, quienes lo alertaban de la movilidad de las fuerzas de seguridad de los tres niveles de gobierno en la zona. Veloz Ortiz también se encargaba de la extorsión a vendedores ambulantes y locatarios en los mercados Hidalgo y 20 de Noviembre, en los municipios de Veracruz y Boca del Río. Entre otras actividades delictivas que el detenido desempeñaba, se destaca el control de los vehículos que el CJNG empleaba en esa área. El Conta fue detenido en cumplimiento de una orden de cateo en un inmueble del Fraccionamiento Reforma. Estaba en compañía de su pareja y se le aseguraron una pistola Glock, un kilogramo de droga sintética, una báscula digital de precisión y una camioneta Pick Up.
“Jalisco state was relatively calm the day after gunmen set fire to cars, buses, banks and gasoline stations and trade gunfire with soldiers and police. The violence erupted after security forces launched a campaign against the cartel Friday.
“State authorities remained on alert in and around Jalisco’s capital of Guadalajara, with heavy police patrols and fewer people than usual on the streets Saturday.
“Mexico’s government is going head-on against the cartel, whose leader, Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho, is one of the country’s richest drug lords, trafficking to Europe, Asia, Australia and South Africa, said Jose Reveles, author of several books on drug trafficking.”
In March 2015, there were reportedly 30 assassination attempts on security personnel in Jalisco state, a situation that prompted the authorities to respond. And presently, it seems Mexico is making significant progress in achieving this. According to a recent statement released by Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, a Jalisco New Generation leader known as Ivan “El Terrible” Margarito Esquivel García was recently arrested in Colima, Mexico.
This is as reported by UPI. The arrest was apparently carried out without a single shot being fired. A weapon and packets of cocaine were seized. The drug trafficking organization has had numerous top ranking members arrested in recent months, and this new development is likely to add to its troubles.
The Jalisco New Generation Cartel, like El Chapo Guzman’s organization, is said to have significant connections in major Mexican government institutions. Just about a month ago, Edgar Veytia, 45, the Attorney General of Nayarit, was arrested in San Diego for drug trafficking.
The prosecutor has on numerous occasions been alleged to have ties to the Jalisco New Generation cartel. Collaboration between the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration is said to have yielded a case against him. He, together with other parties allegedly conspired to manufacture and distribute cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine within the United States.
The arrest is a great embarrassment to Mexican President Pena Nieto’s administration, which has for a long time been accused of corruption and links to drug trafficking organizations. The following was the statement released by Roberto Sandoval, the governor of Nayarit, in relation to the scandal.
“I want to be very clear to the people of Nayarit, men and women, that I will personally take responsibility for security… in the state. We will not lower our guard, we will continue to be one of the safest states.”
According to a report by RT, “The charges date back to January 2013, the year he became attorney general, and cover the period through to February 2017. They relate to at least 1kg (2.2lb) of heroin, 5kg of cocaine, 500g of methamphetamine and 1,000kg of marijuana.”
Presently, Jalisco New Generation leader El Mencho is still at large, while El Chapo languishes in jail. A leader with a ruthless disposition, El Mencho was last year captured in a leaked audio recording, threatening a police commander in Jalisco to “relax” his men or risk a violent confrontation.
[Featured Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]